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Children’s Rights Condemns HHS Decision to Grant South Carolina Authority to Discriminate in Foster Care System

Contact: Daniel Kessel, dkessel@childrensrights.org

NEW YORK — In response to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families decision to grant a waiver to allow South Carolina foster care providers to discriminate against foster youth and prospective foster and adoptive parents while maintaining their licenses and continuing to receive federal funds, Children’s Rights lead counsel Christina Wilson Remlin issued the following statement:

“Let’s call this decision what it is: state-sanctioned and government-funded discrimination. By granting a waiver that allows agencies to accept federal and state dollars while turning away otherwise qualified families and individuals solely on the basis of religious belief, the Trump administration is sending the message that Jewish, LGBTQ, Muslim, and other non-Christian individuals are less deserving of equal protection under the law. We disagree.

“Moreover, South Carolina is already facing a severe shortage of foster homes and inappropriately overuses group homes. Limiting the pool of prospective foster and adoptive parents based on their failure to pass a religious litmus test will deprive children of suitable, loving and stable homes.”

Earlier this year Children’s Rights joined 20 leading organizations in a letter calling on HHS to reject South Carolina’s waiver application, warning that the waiver would violate the Constitution and other federal statutes and potentially threaten the safety of South Carolina foster children.

Children’s Rights is counsel for South Carolina’s foster children under the Michelle H. v. McMaster lawsuit, which seeks system-wide improvements on behalf of all the approximately 4,000 children in foster care statewide.

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About Children’s Rights: Fighting to transform America’s failing child welfare, juvenile justice, education and healthcare systems is one of the most important social justice movements of our time. Through strategic advocacy and legal action, Children’s Rights holds state governments accountable to America’s most vulnerable children. A national watchdog organization since 1995, Children’s Rights fights to protect and defend the rights of young people, because we believe that children have the right to the best possible futures. For more information, please visit www.childrensrights.org.